- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

It's a case of the dueling doughnuts.Montgomery Bakers Inc. is suing a former employee claiming he is using confidential company information to solicit new clients for competitor Chantilly Donuts.

The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court for Montgomery County [Md.] last week, says Steven Eisen, who now works for Chantilly Donuts, is using proprietary client lists he took when he left Montgomery to bring in new business for Chantilly.

The lawsuit, which also names Chantilly Donuts as a defendant, is seeking $200,000 in damages.

The company makes doughnuts for hundreds of institutional customers throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District, from supermarkets and school cafeterias to corporate dining rooms and mom-and-pop shops.

Montgomery Bakers asked for a temporary restraining order to stop Mr. Eisen and Chantilly from contacting or soliciting any Montgomery customers, but the request was denied on Monday.

The doughnut company, based in Rockville, is still pursuing the lawsuit, claiming it has "already lost customers and is on the brink of losing more customers," because of the client information Mr. Eisen obtained when he left Montgomery Aug. 13, according to court documents.

The customer lists, which contain more than 1,000 client names, their contact and purchasing information, "constitutes valuable proprietary information," the lawsuit says.

Eric Eisen, the attorney for Mr. Eisen, and Barry A. Haberman, the attorney for Montgomery Bakers, both declined to comment on the case.

Officials at Chantilly Donuts, based in Chantilly, did not return phone calls.

Earlier this summer, Sheldon and Benson Fischer bought the assets of Montgomery Donuts, which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 1999.

The father-and-son team created the new company, Montgomery Bakers.

The $6 million company has more than 1,000 wholesale accounts, four retail shops in Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, and 115 employees.

Montgomery Bakers and Chantilly Donuts both do business in the same Maryland, Virginia and Washington areas.

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